Polecat: Life on the road
by Aaron Guest
A few days after our bass man Richard sailed in from an epic voyage on the wooden boat he restored (yeah he’s cool like that) we set our sights on our own adventure – a 4,000 mile tour around the Northwest U.S. – here is our tale.
Our first stop was the Top Hat in Missoula, a recently restored, legendary downtown venue, full of 500 college kids and young professionals ready to get down to the stomp – this place knows how to party! After nine hours on the road, it was clear that the proper course of action was to down all the tapas and Jameson provided for us and play til 1:45 a.m… a great way to kick things off!
The next night we found ourselves in Billings, an old railroad town, where we played to a small but enthusiastic crowd, and stayed at a hotel called the Dude Rancher…yep. The boys had a great metal session and drank Old Milwaukee brew inside the walls of Micheal Bolton, our trusty tour van. Don’t worry, we were parked at the Dude Rancher. Yeah, we listen to metal. Cayley doesn’t like metal. That’s OK. The next day, after a snowy drive through the tundra of northeastern Wyoming, we set up at Galloway’s pub (affectionately called the G-Spot) in Casper, and played for a great attentive audience full of Santiagos! Yeah, Austin is from there, and his family and friends are so great to us. They threw us a party at their amazing house, complete with an atrium, secret bookcase rooms, and many, many bottles of booze.
A night off in Fort Collins was welcomed with Olive Garden, movies, and bad TV – hey sometimes you gotta go there. The Fort is cool town full of breweries and college kids, but it doesn’t quite have the knack of going out on Wednesdays like Bham does…maybe we should play more reggae. The next night in Denver was epic – Cerevantes is a great venue and has built up Thursdays very well – we played from 11 ‘til 2 and there were still people ready to rage. We should note that by this time on tour, Jeremy was in a crippled state from a wisdom tooth coming in – ouch! The guy can really stand a lot of pain, and continued to tear up the telecaster each night.
Next stop was Boulder, an idyllic, forward thinking town at the base of the flatiron mountains. It’s almost too nice. We played a fun room right in the heart of downtown on Pearl street, which is ONLY for pedestrians. How cool is that? Winter Park is a sleepy ski town at 10,000 feet, but it comes alive at night, and we finished our Colorado run with a rowdy crowd, coin-op laundry in the green room, a $100 drink tab, and a night all by ourselves in a giant creepy old hotel! One red fox sighting, no ghost sightings.
Headed west, Michael Bolton flew through the mountains where he discovered an incredible hot springs for Richard’s birthday – huge steaming pools in a forest of Aspen trees, snow falling, and sun shining through the clouds. Pure magic. Nothing is open on Sunday evenings in the middle of Utah, but Yelp guided us to a a truly epic feast at a diamond in the rough, wherein we all ordered the same thing: chicken strips, mashed potatoes, rolls, full salad bar, and dessert. For $8 each. We drove all the way to Salk Lake City that night, slept, and left early in the morning. So we still can’t really say we’ve been there. Bolton glided past the Great Salt Lake, through the flats, and into glorious, desolate Nevada, destination: Reno. We arrived in the Biggest Little City bumping Luda and T-pain, checked into Harrah’s, and got DOWN with the desecration. Free drinks, great weather, cheap food, and slot machines soon took hold in a joyous way, and we really went for it. Jeremy celebrated his birthday wearing a large blue squid hat Cayley and Richard won for him in an arcade, and many drinks of varying liquor and flavor were had with much delight.
36 hours in Reno was plenty, and we were soon on the road to Harlow’s in Sacramento, a great room filled with Davis students ready to dance – can’t ask for better on a Wednesday night! Halfway through the set, Karl noticed the crowd throwing crumpled up dollar bills on stage (for reals!) and while at first each of our souls took a swift plunge into confusion and despair, we soon realized this was a great new enterprise, and we didn’t even have to take our clothes off! Well, Richard teased ‘em a bit. When they say every show is different… believe it! Tens of dollars richer, the next day found us by the sea again, driving over huge bridges and through hilly streets, to a very hip bar in a very hip part of the MIssion district of San Francisco – Anmesia. It’s like being inside an old ship – oil lamps, exposed wooden beams, red carpet stage – it was a cool return to the coolest city. The next day we crossed the Golden Gate and ran around the Marin headlands, rejoicing in the salty air and sunny weather. Headed east and north, we made it through terrible CA traffic just in time to load in to the Crazy Horse in Nevada City, where we played to one of the best crowds of the tour – the packed room was dancing from the first note and we played all night. The venue has a condo upstairs for bands, complete with Nintendo, and Aaron crushed some Excite-A-Bike until he realized we had an eight hour drive the next day… all the way to Florence, OR – right on the coast, where we played a weird, long gig in a restaurant full of locals, half of them in Halloween attire (almost a full week early.) We got put up in a tiny cabin on a lake where the men demonstrated their not-so-amazing wood chopping skills and we built a bonfire. We spent the next day exploring the wonderful Oregon coast, ate at Mo’s, and arrived in Astoria to play Fort George Brewery – a huge building with a chill staff, great beer, and great pizza, and by great, we mean delicious and endless. This was a Sunday, so we weren’t expecting much, but the place filled up and folks had a great time! An enjoyable last night on the road was had, complete with after-show fun in our ‘family suite’ hotel room – yes, bunk beds, bean bags, and Wii bowling.
A few days back home was filled with Halloween preparations, and we quickly descended upon the Green Frog in Bellingham and the Tractor Tavern in Seattle ready to do our thing. In the past, we have presented The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, and Sesame Screeech – our fourth Halloween proved excellent with our Disney Villain theme. We learned a wide variety of songs and tags during our tour and it was a joy to weave them into our set. This was the first time we brought Halloween outside of Bellingham, and 250 Seattleites threw down very nicely, but there’s something special about Halloween in our beloved town. Thanks for such a sweet stomping homecoming, and to those who couldn’t get tickets, we will see you at the Wild Buffalo on New Years Eve for a 007-themed night, complete with Casino Royale upstairs, a seven-piece symphony playing along with us, champagne toasts, and much more! There you have it folks, Polecat’s Fall 2013 Tour in 1,200 words.
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